an amazing boost/compression pedal for bass - that's no a bass pedal!

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by SamJ, Jan 11, 2015.


  1. bigtexashonk

    bigtexashonk Supporting Member

    Been using the same setup for about 6 weeks now. The new Keeley Bass Compressor with the Harlow is a great sound.
     
    son_of_mogh and SamJ like this.
  2. monkeyfinger

    monkeyfinger Moderator Staff Member

    how does the harlow compressor sound? what would you compare it too?
     
  3. DirtyDuke

    DirtyDuke Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 13, 2012
    guelph ontario
    Partner Southampton Pedals, Partner CCP
    Ordered.......i'll let you know when it arrives
     
  4. Subscribed
     
  5. Snaxster

    Snaxster

    Nov 29, 2008
    First test. A great start, but...

    Earlier today, working at home, I tried my new Harlow compressor for the first time in a quick test: 1969 Fender Precision into Harlow into Monique preamp into The Enabler into open air headphones. Using low compression settings, I thought the Harlow sounded musical and responsive, and I was impressed by how much natural-sounding low end it made. The Harlow's volume control is rather sensitive, and it needs to be tweaked since there is tremendous output volume on tap. Also, I found myself trying the tone control more than a bit, and in a moment you will see why.

    Second test. Something is missing.

    Then I finished my workday, did a job interview by phone, then tried another test. This time I became aware of something I suspected in the first test, but didn't have time to make sure of. With the Harlow switched off, I heard the sound of my bass uncolored enough not to think anything of it. But with the Harlow switched on, I was missing something. The net sound was huge, but it was not natural. My guess was that something was up with the midrange.

    Third test. Mystery solved.

    So I added the Harlow into a straight chain of overdrive pedals I've been testing, with an Empress Compressor at the end. Most of the overdrives were fairly new to me, but the Empress Compressor was not. The rest of audio path was the same as in the first test, but with several overdrives between my bass and the preamp. What's important about the addition of the overdrives is that I have each one tuned differently, and anyway each has a different signature voice.

    My reasoning was that if my guess about the Harlow's midrange response was right, I would hear the same kind of change of each overdrive's sound with the Harlow on (and the Empress off); and I would hear effectively no change of each with the Empress on (and the Harlow off), since the Empress Compressor is about as transparent sounding as a compressor pedal gets.

    After many passes, I had no doubt that the Harlow sounded scooped. Specifically (to my ears only, without any measurements) it was dipping the upper midrange. To me, the result of this is twofold:

    1. the Harlow always sounds like a processor being applied to the source sound; the Harlow's net sound is beautiful, huge, and useful, but it is no kind of transparent.

    2. used with bass, the Harlow makes the bass sound like it has a slight head cold.

    My conclusion

    At first blush, that's how the Bogner Harlow sounds to me. As such, though I would choose it for certain applications (matched with particular basses or pedals, for some genres of music, as an effect, etc.), I would not use it as an always-on compressor. The Harlow makes beautiful music, but it is not neutral.

    L1100565.jpg
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2015
  6. SamJ

    SamJ Founder - Fender MIA Club Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2006
    SFO / HNL
    You absolutely nailed it!
     
  7. Snaxster

    Snaxster

    Nov 29, 2008
    Hello, Sam. Thank you. :D

    And thanks for starting this thread. I kept looking for any discussion of the Bogner Harlow for use with bass guitar, but I couldn't find it until now.

    Best,

    Snaxster
     
    SamJ likes this.
  8. Spirit of Ox

    Spirit of Ox Supporting Member

    Feb 2, 2012
    Chelsea Mass
    Garage band is great. It's so user friendly and it has awesome sound quality and effects. Yeah it's limited but you don't need to be a recording engineer to use it like some of the more intensive recording software like Pro tools.
    It reminds me of an old school Tascam 8 Track. I would suggest getting an interface. I have a Lexicon Alpha. They are around 60.00. Good luck!
     
  9. SamJ

    SamJ Founder - Fender MIA Club Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2006
    SFO / HNL
    Well, just brought a voodoo pedal power plus 2 power supply home to power all of these pedals as I'm sick of changing batteries and hate unplugging them... I also picked up a 1/4 to 1/8 adapter and will try and mess with garage band, haven't used it for anything more than a drum machine! lol

    I'll try and record a short sample of some slap tone on my Spector or Fender / EBMM basses... all of which are active and see if I can post them (no promises, as I have no idea how to host or upload audio clips)

    btw, one minor issue I had with the Bogner pedal is that one of the screws on the back doesn't thread very easily... just the one oddly... why? I have no idea as the over all build quality of these is fine. My other beef is that the volume control is VERY hot... almost to the point of crazy.. If I take it up past 10'o clock I get a lot of break up and over drive (that I don't want).
     
  10. Snaxster

    Snaxster

    Nov 29, 2008
    Sam, I don't know about the case screws. But you reminded me of something I noticed when I opened my Harlow: I think the case is being used for electrical grounding. The case back interior and the case body each has a screw hole guide for each of the four screws (of course). One pair of guides (that is, one from the back and one from the body), that are meant to mate, were filed down to bare metal; all paint was removed. I'm no engineer, but to me that means that Bogner meant for the case back to be oriented only that way, so those two guides always touch when the case is screwed shut.

    As for the high output volume, in fairness, the Harlow is a boost pedal that happens to use compression. So it's doing its job correctly as a boost.
     
  11. SamJ

    SamJ Founder - Fender MIA Club Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2006
    SFO / HNL
    but the control doesn't seem very linear to me, and the noise level seems to go up at about 830 position and hold steady up thru the higher levels.. that being said, I understand your point, and for me the tone shaping from the eq/bloom is part of the equation, it's the transformer that lends it that special voice I guess, and yes, I fully agree... not an "Always on" pedal but does add a cool dimension to my small collection of sound shaping pedals.
     
  12. bassmusic17

    bassmusic17

    Jan 15, 2011
    From what it says is that it supposed to get a little fuzzy the more you boost it. To me it just makes me want this pedal even more.
     
    blindrabbit and SamJ like this.
  13. SamJ

    SamJ Founder - Fender MIA Club Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2006
    SFO / HNL
    damn it! I hate Apple sometimes with their minimalist crap! So I get this 1/4 to 1/8 jack adapter and come to find out on both my macbook pro's there is only a 1/8" headphone jack.. so now I gotta find a USB adapter too! sigh
     
  14. SamJ

    SamJ Founder - Fender MIA Club Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2006
    SFO / HNL
    ok, pedal order does make a huge difference... I took the advise of Snax and move my compression to the end of the chain, and WOW my noise level is way down, and the boost is more linear on the Bogner... The settings I'm using are in this photo... Open to any suggestion from any "Audio Engineers" on here as to a better sequence or settings for my pedals, but I will say the "hiss" way lower now
     
  15. dcarwin

    dcarwin

    Feb 11, 2013
    415
    Not sure what your Macbook pro looks like (what year is it?) but mine looks like this:
    670px-Activate-a-Microphone-on-Mac-Step-2Bullet2.jpg
    and there is a 1/8" line-in right next to the headphone out...
     
  16. SamJ

    SamJ Founder - Fender MIA Club Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2006
    SFO / HNL
    naw man, I sold that one (wish I didn't now)... I've got two new Retina's ... the 13 and a 15, both have no eithernet, no firewire and no line input... utterly stupid! I'm gonna have to find one of those USB to 1/8 adapters now! sigh
     
  17. dcarwin

    dcarwin

    Feb 11, 2013
    415
    Here's how to use the single port on the 13" models:

    http://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201929
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2015
  18. neptoon

    neptoon

    Jul 25, 2000
    Palm Bay, FL
  19. SamJ

    SamJ Founder - Fender MIA Club Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2006
    SFO / HNL
    yeah, but if I'm going to do that, I might as well just use the built in mic on the MBP.... no, what I want is a direct input to the computer... otherwise the sound will be horrible and very tinny... the mic on the headset isn't going begin to pick up the frequencies that my bass amp will be putting out.

    thanks anyway tho... I'll just hunt down a usb adapter
     
  20. dcarwin

    dcarwin

    Feb 11, 2013
    415
    Nothing against a USB adaptor, but using LINE-IN from a pedal with the gain set correctly is going to sound nothing whatsoever like using the built-in mic to record. If you have the cable you referred to, you could test it out right now and see for yourself.
     
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

     
    Sep 21, 2021

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